Real Estate Technology, Real Estate Investment
PRweb | June 30, 2023
United® Real Estate (United) announced its second expansion in Huntsville, Alabama today, solidifying its position in the top three residential brokerages in the local market. United’s Leading Edge Real Estate Group, which joined United’s national network in 2022, and Huntsville-based Revolved Realty have merged operations.
The combined companies and their 300 agents will operate as Leading Edge Real Estate Group. Revolved Realty co-founder, Tim Knox joins the team as President to advance the long-term success of the combined operations and will remain the managing broker of two former Revolved Realty offices in Huntsville. No role changes are planned for Leading Edge Real Estate Group’s founders, Danny and Charlene Sullivan. Agents will gain additional new tools, training and resources deployed through United’s Bullseye™ Cloud proprietary productivity platform.
"The merger of these two great local brokerages, combined with the backing of our national partner United Real Estate, offers limitless opportunities for buyers and sellers across north Alabama and southern Tennessee. And for the thousands of REALTORS® who call this area home, our commitment to helping agents build long-term, legacy businesses has never been greater," stated Tim Knox and Chelsea McKinney, founders of Revolved Realty. "That's the banner we will carry as we go forth and expand our market share here and eventually statewide."
In today’s market, brokerages have a tremendous opportunity to join forces for long-term competitive advantage.
“Tim and his team bring new energy into the company. Together, we have great synergy and focus and can leverage each person’s expertise to accomplish goals that previously seemed insurmountable. The services and tools we’ll bring to our service footprint will be huge for our market and for the agents. Together, we are now the third-largest in unit sales in our marketplace, and our combined strengths are a catalyst for continued growth,” commented Danny & Charlene Sullivan, founders of Leading Edge Real Estate Group.
Over the last decade, the real estate industry has shifted from commission-split brokerage models to transaction-fee models. New-generation models that entered the market have shown growth, while legacy models have reported declines in agent count, sales volume and unit sales. COVID-19 magnified those trends. According to a data-backed study examining brokerage profitability by real estate tech strategist Mike DelPrete, United was one of two national brokerages to be profitable in Q1 2023.
As brokerages move further into the new real estate market, change and innovation will become imperative for survival. In hindsight, we will look back and realize 2023 was the turning point for both legacy and new-generation models.
“Danny, Tim, Charlene, Chelsea and their respective employees and agents are creating forward momentum. What’s very exciting is that we have a carefully crafted strategic plan to navigate their agents successfully into the future. Today’s real estate landscape is vastly different than just five years ago, and these entrepreneurs are leveraging their unique talents and United Real Estate’s national resources to great advantage for their company and agents,” stated Rick Haase, President of United Real Estate.
About United Real Estate
United Real Estate (United) – a division of United Real Estate Group – was founded with the purpose of offering solutions to real estate brokers and agents in the rapidly changing real estate brokerage industry. United provides the latest training, marketing and technology tools to agents and brokers under a flat-fee, transaction-based agent commission model. By leveraging the company’s proprietary cloud-based Bullseye™ Agent & Broker Productivity Platform, United delivers a more profitable outcome for agents and brokers. United Real Estate operates in 33 states with 148 offices and 18,500 agents. The company produced over 77,900 transactions and $27.9 billion in sales volume in 2022.
About Leading Edge Real Estate Group
Founded in 2013 by Danny and Charlene Sullivan, Leading Edge Real Estate Group’s mission is “Leading the way, using cutting-edge technology to sell your home quickly and effectively while having fun in the process.” The company is committed to professionalism and quality and serves the real estate needs of clients throughout North Alabama.
About Revolved Realty
Founded in 2018 by Tim Knox and Chelsea McKinney, Revolved Realty was built on the premise that buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction: it’s a life-changing experience. Their team of highly-seasoned real estate professionals is dedicated to providing exceptional, personalized service for all clients throughout North Alabama. A champion of relationships, Revolved Realty agents work relentlessly on the client’s behalf to achieve their real estate goals.
Real Estate Technology, Real Estate Investment
PRnewswire | June 27, 2023
FirstClose, Inc., a leading fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, announced today that Georgia United Credit Union, one of the largest and strongest credit unions in Georgia, has chosen FirstClose Equity as its end-to-end digital home equity platform to meet the demands of its more than 150,000 credit union members.
Serving Georgia since 1958, Georgia United Credit Union is a full-service credit union with a dozen branches across the Atlanta metropolitan area, as well as Athens, Dalton, and Dublin. The organization's purpose-driven commitment in service is the reason Georgia United stands out from other financial institutions and has been recognized by Forbes as a Best-In-State Credit Union for four years in a row.
Using FirstClose Equity, Georgia United Credit Union will be able to reduce its time to close and provide an exceptional member experience for home equity transactions. Borrowers can get feedback on their home valuation, available equity, get prequalified, submit for a loan and receive a conditional approval all within minutes. With this solution, processors have one solution for ordering all required settlement services while never leaving their loan origination system (LOS), eliminating the need for manual data entry.
"Operational efficiency is key to sustainable, long-term member satisfaction," said Andrew Woodman, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending and Loan Trading with Georgia United Credit Union. "Our members deserve an elegant, streamlined front-end vehicle to apply for a home equity transaction and achieve transparency. We want members to spend more quality time building relationships with their Home Loan Consultant and ultimately close loans faster which is why we selected FirstClose Equity. It puts us in a better position for those challenges and demands for future success."
FirstClose Equity is a one-of-a-kind home equity origination solution that reduces operational touchpoints and improves the overall customer experience for borrowers. The end-to-end platform includes a borrower-facing point-of-sale solution that gives consumers instant online feedback on their home valuation, available home equity, loan options and delivers credit decisions in minutes. Automated workflows, including the ordering of settlement services, enable lenders to complete the application through closing process in as little as ten days versus the industry average of 45 to 60 days.
"We're excited to power an enhanced home equity experience at Georgia United," said Tedd Smith, Chief Executive Officer of FirstClose. "Providing technology to help their members keep their existing low mortgage rate and tap into their equity at a faster pace, will be a gamechanger."
About Georgia United Credit Union
Georgia United Credit Union is an award-winning financial leader and partner in education. Headquartered in Duluth, Georgia United is ranked as one of the state's largest credit unions with $2 billion in assets and over 150,000 members. As a full-service financial institution, they offer competitive products and services for every stage of life. Visit gucu.org to learn more.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, FirstClose, Inc. provides fintech solutions to HELOC and mortgage lenders nationwide. The company's mission is to increase profitability and reduce cost for mortgage lenders. FirstClose makes this possible through offering systems and relationships that enable lenders to assist the lender's borrowers more effectively, reduce closing costs, and ultimately shorten closing times. For more information, visit firstclose.com.
Real Estate Technology, Mortgage and Lending
PRnewswire | July 21, 2023
FirstClose, Inc., a leading fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, announced today that its home equity origination platform—FirstClose Equity— is now integrated with Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology®, part of ICE, a global data, technology and market infrastructure company that designs, builds and operates digital networks to connect people to opportunity.
Through the new integration, Encompass users can seamlessly originate home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans (HELs) within their LOS and complete the application through closing process in as few as 10 days versus the industry average of 45 to 60 days. Encompass will continue to be the system of record because all data is secured through the LOS and stored there. Each call to action initiates a data map and an audit trail to Encompass.
FirstClose's one-of-a-kind home equity solution reduces operational touchpoints to elevate the overall customer experience for borrowers. The solution also enables lenders to automate data collection, verification, and continue to order settlement services through FirstClose's existing order management module.
"Home equity lending has become a go-to option for millions of homeowners and is expected to be a significant growth opportunity for the foreseeable future," said Tedd Smith, Chief Executive Officer at FirstClose. "Our integration with ICE Mortgage's platform will give Encompass users a simple, efficient way to either enter this market or to differentiate themselves by significantly improving the customer experience that they are offering."
The end-to-end platform was built modularly so lenders can implement one, two or all modules based on the approach that's right for their organization.
Point of Sale (POS): A private-label borrower-facing point-of-sale solution with a unique borrower experience – single sign on, workflow, and customized branding including domain that gives consumers instant online feedback on their home valuation, available home equity, loan options and delivers credit decisions in minutes. (Borrower eligibility is determined by the credit score and CLTV.)
Borrower Portal: A borrower portal that lets consumers provide consents, upload needed documents, interact with originators, select loan terms, and draw amounts. In parallel, the portal's backend is iframed into Encompass, so loan originators never leave their LOS and are rewarded with a consistent process and streamlined functionality including title decisioning via the lenders' business rules and a credit decision that leverages EPPS and Encompass' Dynamic Data Management (DDM) to deliver findings in minutes.
Order Management: Automated workflows, including triggers enable the ordering of settlement services such as flood, title, valuation and more.
Closing: An option to support hybrid closings and recordings that are compliant with state regulations and lender guidelines.
"Our best-of-breed technology dramatically accelerates decision-making and connects lenders to a broad network of preferred providers with one contract, one bill and one support team," said Craig Austin, Executive Vice President at FirstClose. "Lenders currently originating home equity products can onboard in as fast as 30 days; while new entrants can onboard in as fast as 60 days enabling lenders to pivot and capitalize on the current market which is a bright spot for our industry."
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, FirstClose, Inc. provides fintech solutions to HELOC and mortgage lenders nationwide. The company's mission is to increase profitability and reduce cost for mortgage lenders. FirstClose makes this possible through offering systems and relationships that enable lenders to assist the lender's borrowers more effectively, reduce closing costs, and ultimately shorten closing times.
About ICE Mortgage Technology
ICE Mortgage Technology® is part of ICE, a global data, technology and market infrastructure company that designs, builds and operates digital networks to connect people to opportunity. Backed by ICE's global resources, we offer a truly differentiated digital platform that provides straight-through processing for a more comprehensive end-to-end workflow than any other provider in the market. We reach almost every mortgage in the U.S. by combining the native automation of Encompass® with the e-collaboration and e-recording capabilities of Simplifile®, along with the national electronic registry for nearly 90% of the U.S. mortgage market in MERS®. Ultimately, our technology enables people across the industry to focus on personal connections when they need it most, and support borrowers for a better journey of homeownership.
About Intercontinental Exchange
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company that designs, builds and operates digital networks to connect people to opportunity. We provide financial technology and data services across major asset classes that offer our customers access to mission-critical workflow tools that increase transparency and operational efficiencies. We operate exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, and clearing houses that help people invest, raise capital and manage risk across multiple asset classes. Our comprehensive fixed income data services and execution capabilities provide information, analytics and platforms that help our customers capitalize on opportunities and operate more efficiently. At ICE Mortgage Technology, we are transforming and digitizing the U.S. residential mortgage process, from consumer engagement through loan registration. Together, we transform, streamline and automate industries to connect our customers to opportunity.